Wednesday 18 October 2017

Foster carers weren't vetted and 'were left unmonitored'

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Children were placed with foster families who were not properly vetted and several had no allocated social worker to monitor their care, according to new inspection reports.

The Health Information and Quality Authority found a range of failings during inspection of the fostering of children in care in Wexford and the Dublin South/Dun Laoghaire areas.

The inspections in Wexford, which took place last November and December, found that while the overall outcomes were positive, the service was under-resourced, with the social work department functioning at 70pc of its staff complement.

Inspectors found that 24 children in care were without an allocated social worker due to some staff being on extended leave and the files of some carers showed they had not been vetted for several years.

"Inspectors could not ascertain if there were other adults in the household apart from the foster carers and, if so, whether garda vetting had been sought for these adults," the inspection report stated.

There was a large number of children with disabilities and their needs were not always met. Inspectors found they were particularly vulnerable when leaving care, despite efforts by social workers to involve disability services.

An inspection of services in Dublin South/Dun Laoghaire conducted last October showed children were well cared for but over one-third of children and those with disabilities affected by cuts had no allocated social worker.

"The children-in-care team leader confirmed three social workers had resigned earlier in the year and had not been replaced. Consequently the team was working at 67pc of its capacity," inspectors stated.

They found that not all children were monitored consistently.

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